One of the greatest fears many people have is not being in control. There is hardly a better example of this fear becoming a reality than being a passenger in a car accident. Even after the traumatic event of someone else losing control, passengers are still dependent on others to meet their needs after a car accident.
According to Kentucky’s MVRA, every driver must carry liability insurance for their vehicle. Unless specifically, and expressly waived, the insurance policy must also include Personal Injury Protection benefits. These benefits serve to fill the void of time between the car accident and find out which driver was at fault. They are used to cover initial medical expenses and up to $200 in lost wages per week, amongst several other items. What does this mean for passengers?
First, a claim must be filed with the insurance company of the driver of the car. However, it is recommended to speak with a licensed personal injury attorney before making any statements, to any insurance company.
What if the driver of the car does not have car insurance? There are several options to protect you in this situation. First, Kentucky law requires all vehicles driven on public roadways to carry minimum insurance coverages. If the driver does not have car insurance, they violate the law and charges may be brought by someone that lost something because of the car wreck. These charges are typically prosecuted by the County Attorney in the county where the accident took place. This process is often slow, and the victim usually does not make a full recovery.
The second option is to make a claim under the passenger's auto insurance. No one wants to make a claim against their policy but utilizing health insurance and personal auto insurance you are limiting your exposure to collection companies, lawsuits, and mounting medical bills. By not using your insurance, if available, you could also limit the amount of recovery for failing to mitigate your damages.
What if you were a passenger in a car accident where the driver is uninsured, and you do not own a vehicle? Kentucky provides individuals in this situation with protection under the Kentucky Assigned Claims program. The most common example of a person eligible for the Kentucky Assigned Claims Program is a person that is a passenger on public transportation such a TARC bus. Generally, passengers on public transit do not own a vehicle and qualify for up to $10,000 to pay for medical bills and lost wages which replace Personal Injury Protection from a private auto insurance policy. Applying for KAC benefits can be a tricky process at times and speaking to a licensed personal injury attorney can be a benefit to making the process run smoothly.
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